Before we talk about any football let us rejoice. There will be two good football teams playing on Thursday night at relative full strength with stakes on the line.
On the Saints side they can get one step closer to locking up the NFC South. They took down the Panthers last week, one more division win will have them focused on securing a first round bye. Mark Ingram remains a game-time decision and left guard Andrus Peat will be out with a groin injury. If Ingram cannot go rookie Alvin Kamara has proven he can handle just about anything you throw his way.
For the Falcons this could be an elimination game. The NFC has been so good the sixth seed might be 11-5. The Falcons are 7-5 with all their remaining games against divisional opponents. A well-timed four game win streak can not only get them in the playoffs, but a home playoff game. They welcome their best corner Desmond Trufant back, but will also be without their left guard, Andy Levitre.
This pick came down to trust. I respect both teams immensely and enjoy watching both. At the end of the day the Falcons have come up short at full strength more times than not this season (including last week). Matt Ryan has not been the player he was with Kyle Shanahan as OC which should not be underrated. Drew Brees on the other hand has been the steady general he has always been in New Orleans. The main difference this year has been his supporting cast including an improved defense.
If Ingram is able to go expect a lot of rush attempts, the Falcons rank 17th against the run but 7th against the pass. If he’s out Kamara becomes the key factor. He has also given me no reason to doubt him. I’m rocking with Brees and that rushing attack. They have given me no reason to not trust them which is more than the Falcons can say.
Prediction: Saints 31, Falcons 24